Join/Renew Now

Latest news

Day 9 Quotes - U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field


U.S. Olympic Team Trials — Track & Field

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hayward Field, Eugene, Ore.


Men’s triple jump, final


Will Claye, first place, 17.65m/57-11

“I visualized what I had to do. It already happened before I did it. To be able to jump that distance brought me to tears. You put on that USA across your chest, you feel like Superman. I’ll let this soak in tonight and then start preparing for Rio.”


Chances for the team in Rio:

“I believe these two guys right next to me are some of the best jumpers in the world and I believe that we can go 1-2-3 in Rio. I feel like we’re all competitors. I feel like we have the fight in us and we’re competing for the best country in the world. It comes with a lot of pride. When we put that USA across our chest we feel like superheroes. We’ve all felt it before; we’ve all been on teams before. We’re going to go out there and represent the U.S. as best as possible.”


Emotions after long jump competition:

“The long jump situation was definitely an emotional roller coaster. I felt that for a day or two and it definitely put me in a bad place, in all honesty. And it took my family and my friends and all the prayers and text messages and my coach and my agent; they all spoke to me and just tried to clear my mind a bit. I just sat in my room and I couldn’t believe it. I just missed the standard by 1 cm."


“I really had to clear my mind to come out here for the triple jump and go out there and give it my all, put my full focus onto the triple jump. It was very emotional because I feel like I’ve been through so much, even before getting to this moment, and I feel like it’s a blessing. I didn’t know what to expect today. I was just going to go out there and give it my all and leave it in God’s hands. And I’m thankful that I was able to go out there and do what I did today. It just gives me a lot of motivation for the rest of the season.”


On how experience helps to get through the competition…

“Experience does play a big role, but at the same time, when you’re young you know you have plenty of years ahead of you. You don’t have anything to lose. You just go out there and if I don’t do as good as I thought I would I have plenty of years ahead of me. So there’s a lot less stress when you’re younger."


“Even when Christian and I were competing in our first championships, we knew we were supposed to be there. Even if we were young, we were competing at a high level. You don’t look at age, you go out there and you’re competing. You line up and lace up your shoes just like the next person does and you go out there and compete. I feel like that has a lot to do with the people that you have around you – your coaches and agents and things like that as well – to prepare you because if you have a coach that’s telling you, you’re ready to go, it doesn’t matter what age you are, you’re going to go out there and execute. I feel like age plays a role but at the same time, if you got it, you got it.”


Christian Taylor, second place, 17.39m/57-0.75

“I really feed off my opponents, and it took a while to wake up. It’s a little different without my coach here, but now the pressure’s gone and I’m on the team headed to Rio, and I’m just so happy.”


“I always knew I’d have the last jump, and for me that’s my comfort zone. I can always respond if I need to, but when I knew I made the team that was the most important goal.”


Chris Benard, third place, 17.21m/56-5.75

“I knew today that I’d put everything out there because this was my last opportunity to make the team, so from first jump to sixth jump, I was trying to give it everything I had.”


“This is the top. The only thing higher than this is actually winning an Olympic medal, so to finally have reached this point, this is the best moment of my life to be honest. This is the greatest thing I have ever achieved.”


Men’s 5000m, final


Bernard Lagat, first place, 13:35.50

On the 52-second final lap:

“The last 400 meters was exciting. My head was just counting the numbers. I was thinking to myself we have one, two, three, five people ahead of me. I thought, ’This is it. It’s now or it’s not going to happen.’ I was feeling composed, because my coach told me, ‘Do not react too early, because if you are going to kick with 400 meters to go, you might miss it.’ All I had to do was concentrate, be patient, and wait until there was 100 meters to go. I wasn’t surprised that a lot of athletes were in front of me; I knew that was going to happen. If I remained composed and patient, I was going to make it.”


On redemption after last year:

“Last year, I was in tears. I was thinking that my kids told me, ‘Daddy, you’re going to make it.’ They knew what I was going through; I was sick. Coming in here and not knowing how I was going to run, my kids were telling me, ‘Daddy we are going to make it,’ and I told them, ‘Kids, I’m going to do my best and do it for you guys.’"


“I wanted to come and do the best I could, and not end at the University of Oregon and Track Town, the way I did in the Prefontaine Classic. And to win in front of my kids, who had been telling me we had to go. My daughter tells me, ‘Daddy, I want to go back to the Olympics so I can watch gymnastics.’ That’s true, she’s been telling me she wants to go back to the Olympics to watch gymnastics. We were watching gymnastics all day yesterday. So I’ve made my daughter’s day today. I’m happy for that.”


Hassan Mead, second place, 13:35.70

“I kind of expected it to be an unpredictable race with people going and coming back. One thing I had to do was cover every move being made and had to give myself a chance on the last lap. As my coach said, stay smooth, stay within the race, and bring it home strong.”


“I can’t put any words on it. As a kid I used to watch people become an Olympian and how they reacted when they made it. I was trying to picture what my reaction would’ve been when I made it, and to be able to go through the line knowing I’m going to the next Olympics hasn’t hit me yet, but I’m sure when it does, it’s going to be a great feeling.”


On coming back from 10k DNF:

“To be honest, after that 10k I was devastated. I wasn’t even thinking about the 5k, my mind was a cluster. The people around me, my coach and my agents, everybody was just rushing to help me recover and getting ready for the 5k: fluid, wet towels, everything they could think of. From that point on I forgot about the 10k, and said I’ve got the fastest 5k coming in, I said I was the man to beat and that was the mindset I had.”


Paul Chelimo, third place, 13:35.92

On leading the charge to reel in Galen Rupp:

“I decided to push it and take the lead. The bear jumped on my back in the last 50 meters. I didn’t have enough left to finish strong, but I achieved my goal of making the team.”


On representing the U.S. Army:

“I joined the Army to represent the United States, and the best way to represent my country is to be an Olympian.”


On growing up in Kenya and first time hearing about Lagat:

“I’ve always looked up to Bernard Lagat, and I’m trying to fashion my racing style to be like Bernard Lagat in the future. I’m hoping that when he retires I’m going to take over. Today he won, but next time I’m taking over.”


On making early move:

“In practice I can run 50 seconds for the 400, so I was pretty confident with my last kick. I made hard moves in the race which dampened my kick a bit, but I tried to make it hard for Hassan Mead and Bernard Lagat. I didn’t want to go into the last 200 and not try and kick with people, that was the only way I had a chance.”


Eric Jenkins, fourth place, 13:35.98

“I’m very disappointed. I just made my move too late. I’ve raced here (at Hayward Field) all the time, but this is an entirely different situation. The Trials are intense.”


On Bernard Lagat’s victory at age 41:

“I’m going to retire before he does. He’s a great guy with a great attitude.”


Galen Rupp, ninth place, 13:41.09

“I thought it would be better to not leave it to a wild sprint at the end and just really try to draw it out. I went for it. It didn't work out today. That's the way it goes sometimes. Sometimes you die.”


“I was just trying to relax. When they made a break, I wasn't about to pull everybody else up there. I wanted to sit back and just try to close it gradually and sit behind people as much as possible, make them work to get up there and then when it was time, I planned to go to the front.”


“Obviously it sucks, finishing on the down note a little bit because earlier it went so well, but I think this gave us some real good information going forward on what we need to do. We've really been hitting the long stuff a lot last couple months.”


Men’s 110m hurdles, final


Devon Allen, first place, 13.03

“I was trying to go 12 this meet, missed it by three hundredths, but I’ve got time, about four or five weeks to Rio, and I’m excited and ready to go.”


On leaping into Hayward stands:

“I planned it by myself. I didn’t tell anyone about it, but I knew where my parents and family were sitting, so I knew I was going to go up there.”


“I was just really excited. It was something I’ve been training for all year with my coach. I planned out the whole year, and we’ve done everything to make it to this point in time, and I’m just happy that I’m ready to go and I ran well today.”


Ronnie Ash, second place, 13.21

“I’m looking forward to the Olympics a great deal. I’ve been to worlds, but I know it’s going to be 10 times bigger. They only come around every four years and it’s the pinnacle of our sport, so making it is great. Now the grit begins, you know, all that hard work because you have to excel even more at the Os.”


“I’m going to have to take every round like it’s the last pretty much. You have to get through each round and run like a professional. Know your race, clear those hurdles like you’ve done since day one and I’m gonna go into the Olympics best as possible.”


Jeff Porter, third place, 13.21

On if he knew where he finished when he crossed the line:

“I had no idea.”


“I know how far the finish line is away. I know exactly how many steps it takes from that last hurdle, so I've been able to time it pretty well through my career.”


Aries Merritt, fourth place, 13.22

“I came up a little bit short. The replay looked like I was second or third. When I saw I was fourth, I was shocked. I plan to file a protest.”


David Oliver, did not start due to left hamstring injury

“I’m devastated. I hurt my left hamstring in the semi, but that’s part of the game. Hats off to the great guys we’re sending.”

Men’s 200m, final


Justin Gatlin, first place, 19.75

“I got up this morning thinking, ‘I’ve already got my ticket punched for Rio.’ But then I realized I can’t start thinking that way. I need to go out there and battle. I came off the turn ahead and my eyes got big. With 30 or 40 meters left, I could see LaShawn’s legs churning, and said, ‘Oh no, not like Beijing again.’ I kept my poise and I was able to get to the line first.”


“Seeing the guys who are going to go to Rio, I think that we are going to represent to the fullest and we’re going to have fun with it. I’m excited to be able to go out there and get ready for the 200. Just as excited as I am for the 100 as well.”

On his remarks to the crowd following the medal ceremony:

“There’s a lot going on in America the last four days. It’s especially sad to have it happen around the Fourth of July, when we should all be coming together. I challenged the crowd. I said, ‘Take the love in this stadium and share it with someone.’”


On being in lane eight:

“I don’t think I’ve ever run in lane eight. I don’t remember running in lane eight. I remember looking yesterday and him [Michael Norman] surging to the finish line and I was like this is what it’s like getting beat by a high schooler. I stayed to the task and I stayed to the plan that my coach put in order. He said do what you need to do to get to the finals, don’t worry about what lane you’re in, execute your race going all the way around the track. When I found out I had lane eight, I was like this is just going to be a glorified time trial. I didn’t see anybody come off the curve and I just ran, basically for my life, as hard as I could down the straightaway and just tried to stay tall and execute my race to the fullest.”


LaShawn Merritt, second place, 19.79

“When I got on the straightaway, I started to lift, but my semifinal felt a lot smoother. I wasn’t tired, it was just that my form was off a little bit, but it’s cool. It felt good.”


“I had three days between the 400 and the 200, and at the Olympics it’ll be one day, so I’ll talk to my coach and see how he’ll adjust training headed towards Rio, and just handle it a round at a time.”


How the 200 meters will help with his 400 meters:

“It can help me. It teaches me how to handle the curve a little bit, with that much velocity. It gives me some speed work. Going into this 200, my coach said, ‘Don’t give it a lot of thought. Run it as smooth as possible and use it as some speed work.’ I’m excited I was able to handle it as well as I did. My body feels great. Definitely some good speed work for the quarter.”

On Lyles and Norman:

“I’m really impressed. They work hard to get here, they got here and fought hard, and they’ll go back and start training for next year. That’s what it’s all about, you take it a race at a time, a year at a time, and handle your business every time the gun goes off.”


Ameer Webb, third place, 20.00

“I’ve been working for this as long as I’ve been running track. I knew I was in there against LaShawn Merritt, Justin Gatlin and the two high school guys (Noah Lyles and Michael Norman). I gave it the push of my life. I crossed the finish line, looked to my left and couldn’t tell if I got third. I didn’t know I made the team until I saw my name on the board. A lot of hard work went into this. It’s my payoff today.”

“I’m just happy to be here, and happy to be part of the Justin Gatlin and LaShawn Merritt press conference. This is awesome. I’m happy to be an Olympian. It’s been great for me. This is a blessing. It’s been a long time coming. I knew I was a great athlete and I got to prove it in front of everyone today.”


“Honestly I was in my own zone. I was just happy to be there. I knew when I came out that I was going to do the best I could. The energy was always high in every competition that I’m in, so it was just normal for me.”

“Those guys (Michael Norman and Noah Lyles) are great. I haven’t ever seen times like that from high schoolers. Coming into this, I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve got to get out on some high schoolers.’ I’m not trying to lose to no high schoolers either. Basically that was it for me.”


Noah Lyles, fourth place, 20.09

“I remember four years ago, me and my brother were at Junior Olympics, and we saw the Olympic opening ceremony and were like, ‘We’re gonna go there next time,’ and now we might have the chance to do it.”


On breaking the high school record:

“I think that’s icing on the cake to what I had to do this week. I came out here and ran three of my best races, and I got the PR at the end, so that’s a nice little prize at the end.”


On chances of making the team:

“I know previously LaShawn Merritt said he wasn’t going to go [in the 200m], but he might change his mind, so there’s still a possibility, but I can deal with it. I came in fourth in my first Olympic Trials. I’m very satisfied with what happened, and I came out here and I think that me and Mike proved our point that high school is a comin’ and we’re ready to take over.”


Michael Norman, fifth place, 20.14

“It was an amazing experience. I had a lot of fun the last three days. Running against people like Justin Gatlin, Ameer Webb and LaShawn Merritt is amazing. I’ve looked up to those guys for a long time.”


“I think the rounds got to me a little bit. I work up this morning a little tighter than usual. It’s been a long season.”


On his rivalry with Lyles:

“It’s going to be a rivalry for who knows how long.”

Women’s javelin throw, final


Maggie Malone, first place, 60.84m/199-7

“It was so great coming back to Oregon. I love it here. The facility is amazing. The fans are amazing. Hitting that A standard really put me at ease, but glory to God. This is the most incredible journey. I'm just so blessed to be here. I have the best coaches in the world. I have a great support system. It's surreal to be here and say that I'm going to Rio.”


“My first throw was my best throw and I just stepped over the line. I have a lot to work on definitely. I have the great coaches to do that, focus going into Rio, focus on those little things that will put me a little bit higher up in the rankings.”


“I have the highest expectations for myself, so I really didn't look at the media or anything like that. I throw javelin. Who really looks at javelin? I'm a female javelin thrower. I wasn't thinking about that. I just knew that I had goals in mind and that's what I wanted to achieve. I'm lucky that I was able to do that today.”


Hannah Carson, second place, 58.19m/190-11

On finishing second but failing to make Olympic team:

“I am so amazed with how I finished today, whether I got to go to Rio or not. I went out there and gave it my best, and that’s all you can ask for, to do what you came here to do.”


On trying too hard, knowing did not have Olympic standard:

“I was definitely trying to overdo it. I had that 62 barrier in my head; I was definitely trying to go for it.”


On disappointment of not making team:

“It’s kind of disappointing in a way, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I might as well have a smile on my face and keep pushing until next year.”


Kara Winger, third place, 57.90m/189-11

“I was nervous but not in the same way as qualifying, but I didn’t handle it well, and that’s kind of a product of my lack of experience this specific season, but I relied on the experience from all the other years.”


“Maggie and Hannah are both 22, they just graduated college, and I’m 30. Today it felt really evident that they had a lot of chances to sharpen themselves in competition this year, and I was a little loosey-goosey on everything, so I’m really impressed with how young and consistent they are. I’m just excited for that potential in the women’s javelin in the U.S. moving forward.”


Brittany Borman, fourth place, 56.60m/185-8 (Borman made the Olympic team since she has the Olympic standard of 62m and second-placer Hannah Carson doesn’t.)

“It wasn’t the best day for me today, but I gave it everything I had and I’m glad to be on the team. I feel bad for Hannah because she competed very well.”

Men’s 110m hurdles, semi-finals


Heat 1

Jeff Porter, first place, 13.49

“It was OK. It was a lot better than it was yesterday. We had a strong, strong headwind so we’ll take that into account in the finals.”

“I’m happy to advance. That was one of the hardest rounds and now we’re at the pivotal moment. I came out aggressive a bit too early, especially trying to rush off the hurdle but I think I corrected that later in the race. I’ll focus on that in the finals and hopefully come out in the top three spots.”


Heat 3

Devon Allen, first place, 13.40

“I wanted to get top two. With all these fast guys in the heats, you never know who’s going to be there. My coach just told me to finish through the line and it’s not going to take too much out of me.”

“It was a lot of fun. I raced David [Oliver] my freshman year, but I haven’t gotten to race against Aries [Merritt] yet, and I’ll see them back in the finals, and that’s where it really counts.”


Women’s 200m, semi-finals


Heat 1

Jenna Prandini, first place, 22.68

“I definitely was relaxed in the straightaway and the whole goal is just to make it through the next round, so that's what we did.”


“I felt great. Came out here and qualified for the next round, and that's really all I could ask for right now. Looking forward to tomorrow.”


“I'm at my home track, my whole family is here and I'm set up well for tomorrow.


Heat 2

Deajah Stevens, first place, 22.45

On if she knew how ahead she was:

"Not really. I wasn't even focusing on that actually. I was just doing what my coach told me to do, run the first 60 and just ankle over heel."


On tomorrow's final:

“Stick to the routine, just execute a little harder at the end of the race. Stay in there and try to get one of those spots.”


Heat 3

Tori Bowie, first place, 22.27

“I’m always pleased with my performances whether I win whether I lose because I’m always learning from it.”


“I knew I was competing against some phenomenal ladies today, so I knew I had to execute really well, and I didn’t want to take any chances today of not getting to the finals, so I just ran.”

Allyson Felix, second place, 22.57
“I was not as sharp as I like to be, but I’m moving on.”

On running the curve today:
“Not good. I mean unfortunately that is an area that we just haven’t had the luxury of working on. I’m just trying to get through with what I have.”

On her ankle injury:
“It isn’t as much as dealing with the pain. I think it is that we haven’t been able to really practice that section so it is just showing a bit.”

Heptathlon, first day


Barbara Nwaba, first place, 3903 points

"I think day two is my stronger day. My long jump is getting more consistent, and it’s also the one where I’m trying to get on the board and make sure I get a mark. My javelin is pretty good this year, just surprising myself each time. Then the 800m is where I’m at, that’s where I’m most comfortable. If I can just execute all those things it’ll be a good result.”


On her performance compared to her expectations going in:

“Better honestly. I kind of mapped things out like this is what it might take. Obviously this is the hardest team to qualify for, so as long as I was in top three range, I’d be happy with it, so all of those marks surpassed what I mapped out.”


Kendell Williams, second place, 3892 points

“My coach said that if I got close to 3900 points, I’d be in a good spot. It’s going to be challenging to make this team. I’m most interested in putting all my events together and getting a personal best.”


On the day’s first four events:

“I was hoping to run faster in the hurdles. I matched my outdoor PR in the high jump with 1.84, and I warmed up well in the shot but didn’t throw well in the competition. I wanted to finish the day strong in the 200.”


Sharon Day-Monroe, fourth place, 3813 points

“It went OK. Not as good as I would have liked, but definitely solid day, just a little bit behind in pretty much every event than I wanted to be, but looking forward to tomorrow.”


On high jump:

“Started off pretty well. I felt pretty good through 1.81, just couldn't put it together for 1.84. I just kind of fell out of my rhythm a little bit at 1.84. My first attempt, I was a little too close, didn't have very good rhythm, so that changed the way I ran on the second one, which made me change a little bit, just a little inconsistency there at that last height.”

Amanda Brooks
Marketing and Communications Manager
USA Track & Field

Nike Toyota Hershey Garden of Life UCS Gatorade NCSA KT Nationwide St. Vincent Normatec
© 2001-2019 USA Track & Field, Inc. All Rights Reserved.